USB to Serial drivers

Serial ports, a.k.a. RS232 ports, are no longer available on new computers and laptops. Many devices still use RS232 for communication (network equipment, data acquisition boards etc.).

There are several USB adapters that provide a “Virtual COM Port” using a special “USBtoUART” or “USBtoSerial” chip. Conversion cables containing these chips can be found online – but the documentation rarely specifies which chip is used! The Prolific PL-2303 chip is very popular, but a number of other chips can be found. Some chips are supported by the OS, others need a special driver.

Manufacturer Chip Linux driver Mac driver Windows driver
FTDI chip FT232RL Included since 2.6.31 kernel Download VCP driver Automatically installed by Windows 7
Prolific PL-2303 Included since 2.4.10 / 2.4.31 kernel Download VCP driver Installation under Windows 7
Silicon Labs CP210x Download VCP driver Download VCP driver Download VCP driver
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RS232 information

Links

Related posts

Updated 2011-06-01: Added links to Open Source driver for Prolific PL2303 under Mac OS X

Installing the PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver under Windows 7

A quick note on installing the Prolific PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver under Windows 7.

My Puxing PX-777 Plus radios can be programmed using a USB Programming Cable. The “6-in-1” programming software is only available for Windows. On my Mac, I run a virtual Windows 7 installation under VMware Fusion.

PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver

I tried the supplied drivers from 409shop for Puxing; I also tried latest drivers from the Prolific website (PL2303_Prolific_DriverInstaller_v130.zip). These appear to install correctly, but upon inserting the USB cable Windows 7 returns an error “The Device Cannot Start (Code 10)” and claims the driver was not installed. Re-installation did not help.

After some Googling, I downloaded alternative USB Drivers from http://www.usglobalsat.com/download/546/win_drivers.zip (cached: win_drivers.zip). Unpack and install (PL2303_Prolific_GPS_AllInOne_1013.exe), insert the USB programming cable.

This worked for me; the cable now shows up as a serial port (COM3 here).

Puxing PX-777 Plus programming software

I downloaded the most recent 6in1 software from Puxing (either http://www.puxingradio.com/down.asp or http://www.pxdz.com/english/down.asp).ย  If needed, install 7-Zip to unpack the RAR-archive.

Choose “Typical” installation. If the installer asks, enter serial number “pxdz” (not sure if this is needed), enter any company name.

Due to a permissions problem (explained here), the software runs in Chinese instead of English.

I copied the C:/Program Files/PX folder a shared folder and run it from there to avoid the permissions problem. I had to manually edit the .INI file, changed “LANGUAGE=CHINESE” to “LANGUAGE=ENGLISH”.

Note: Make sure that you select the correct COM-port every time you start the 6in1 software.

Related posts

  • USB-to-Serial, drivers and information about common “USBtoSerial” / “USBtoUART” chips

 

Update 2010.08: The most recent PX6IN1.EXE binary I found had a Modification date of 2009-03-17, 15:50.
Update 2011.04:
The download-link at USGlobalSat apparently no longer works. You can download my copy of win_drivers.zip instead.
Update 2012.01:
Removed links to cached copy of the PL-2303 drivers by request of Prolific. Their Technical Manager informed me: “Please bear in mind that those cables (mostly no-brand cables) that shows Error Code 10 on latest Prolific drivers are actually using counterfeit (fake) Prolific PL-2303 chips“, and “The only way right now to identify a fake chip is the Error Code 10“. It seems that the best way to avoid problems is to buy brand cables using genuine PL-2303 chips, for example from ATEN INTERNATIONAL CO., Ltd. or Good Way Technology Co., Ltd. (I have no affiliation with either of these manufacturers / brands).